Why is cash bail wrong?

Asked by: Larue Little  |  Last update: July 10, 2022
Score: 5/5 (24 votes)

Money bail allows poor people who are charged with minor crimes to face indefinite incarceration, while rich people who are accused of the same offenses, or worse, are released simply because they have the funds to buy their freedom.

Why cash bail is unconstitutional?

Current bail practices are unconstitutional because they violate the rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, the prohibition against excessive bail found in the Eighth Amendment, and the right to a speedy trial guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.

What was a negative impact of the cash bail system?

Perhaps the most glaring issue with cash bail is that it criminalizes poverty. Under this system, for example, a poor person can be arrested for a nonviolent offense — such as drug possession or a traffic violation — and wait months (or longer) in jail because they can't afford bail.

What is the purpose of cash bail as originally intended?

Originally, the bail system was intended to ensure that people would return to court to face the charges against them. Today, money bail is used to confine those who have been charged but not convicted and to criminalize poverty.

Is the cash bail system unconstitutional?

In March of this year, the California Supreme Court ruled that “conditioning freedom solely on whether an arrestee can afford bail is unconstitutional.” These advances in bail reform are crucial. And yet the financial devastation already caused by cash bail remains in effect.

Here's the Problem With the Cash Bail System

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What is the current criticism of the bail system?

Critics of cash bail say that the system unfairly targets poor people as an individual's ability to get out of jail before their trial becomes solely based on whether they can afford bail.

Does bail violate the Constitution?

Under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, cash bail systems are unconstitutional because they impermissibly discriminate against indigent persons and fail under heightened scrutiny.

Does the justice system favor the wealthy?

From police to prosecutors to courts and legislatures, both federal and state systems benefit the rich while harming people who are poor. The justice system is premised on the notion that rich and poor are treated equally. But today, access to justice is based on how much a person can pay.

What are the pros of bail reform?

Page 1
  • The average minimum jail cost per. inmate is $50/day. ...
  • $18,250 per year per detainee.
  • Counties end up wasting precious taxpayer dollars to jail someone who is awaiting trial.

Why is there no bail in New York?

In New York, bail is imposed solely to ensure that people return to court; judges are not supposed to set high bail for defendants who they think might be a public safety risk. New York is the only state without a so-called dangerousness standard.

What are some alternatives to cash bail?

Various common law alternatives to commercial bail bonding are covered including the recognizance alternative, the criminal penalties alternative, the nonfinancial conditions alternative, and the noncommercial financial security deposit alternative.

What has been the most successful alternative to bail?

By far the most successful alternative approach to bail is being released on one's own recognizance.

What are problems with bail?

Several states and cities around the country are reducing or ending their use of money bail. The money bail system in the United States criminalizes poverty, destroys lives, and wastes public resources while failing to make us safer.

Why does the US have bail?

All criminal defendants are now assessed with a point-based system to determine whether they should be released from custody, held in jail until trial, or subjected to alternative procedures (including house arrest, electronic monitoring, and, in limited cases, cash bail) to ensure public safety and the defendant's ...

Does California have no cash bail?

The California Supreme Court has eliminated cash bail for defendants who can't afford it — writing that "conditioning freedom solely on whether an arrestee can afford bail is unconstitutional." ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: In California, the state Supreme Court has ruled to end cash bail if a defendant can't afford to pay.

Why do rich people get off easier when they break the law?

Rich people do get off easier when they break the law because they can pay people off to avoid charges, they have more money to get better lawyers which means they will get off the hook, and they are also seen as a privilege person.

How do the rich get away with crimes?

Rich people often develop strong political ties by donating to different political campaigns. This allows them to leverage these relationships in case of an arrest. These connections can not only help the rich stay out of prison; it can also help them expunge their criminal records and have a clean slate.

Why do criminals get to keep their money?

If you've been charged or convicted of a crime where the government believes you benefitted financially, they may freeze all your assets. This happens if you've been convicted of insider trading or selling drugs. In some cases, the government may even seize the funds. Frozen by the Bank.

What are the main criticisms of bounty hunters?

Critics believe that allowing bounty hunters to use questionable, and often violent, methods to recapture principals does not promote respect for the administration of justice. In addition, since the 1960s the Supreme Court has recognized that criminal defendants are entitled to numerous constitutional rights.

How does cash bail work in California?

You pay the bondsman up to 10% of the bail amount so that if a defendant has bail set at $50,000, you can buy or secure a bond for $5000. After paying the bond amount, the bondsman will deliver it to the court to secure the defendant's release. The premium paid to the bondsman is non-refundable.

What is being done to moderate the impact of cash bail on defendants awaiting trial?

SB 10 was designed to make California the first state to end the use of cash bail for all detained suspects awaiting trials. The legislation would have replaced the state's cash bail system with risk assessments to determine whether a detained suspect should be granted pretrial release and under what conditions.

Is bail a right?

A person should have the right to be released on bail while preparing for their trial. It was so important and prudent to include a right to reasonable bail in the Bill of Rights because bail is inherently intertwined with a defendant's right to innocence until proven guilty.

Does the 8th Amendment guarantee the right to bail?

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” This amendment prohibits the federal government from imposing unduly harsh penalties on criminal defendants, either as the price for obtaining ...

Why is excessive bail prohibited?

The Court determined that the Eighth Amendment places a restriction on the amount of bail set, so bail cannot place excessive restrictions on a defendant in relation to the perceived wrongdoing. Thus, the amount of bail cannot be set to an amount higher than what is necessary to prevent the perceived wrongdoing.